Fire department needs revamping

A restructuring of the Fire Department is being proposed and a new Chief Fire Officer will be appointed in the near future, the Legislative Assembly heard.

Answering questions in the House on Friday, acting Chief Secretary Colin Ross said the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs was aware of administrative issues within the Fire Service and was seeking to address them.

Mr. Ross said a paper to Cabinet had been prepared proposing the restructure, and following the retirement of the current Chief Fire Officer, a new one would be appointed.

‘It is also anticipated that a human resources manager will be appointed so that the many personnel concerns that arise in any organisation can be addressed in a timely and people focused manner so that our valued firemen do not feel that their concerns are being ignored,’ he said.

Mr. Ross said that one of the concerns they had expressed was that their fellow officers in the police were given a housing allowance and they were not.

He said that when there was a salary review later in the year he would ask the consultants to look at the Fire Service and consider if there was a need to revise their salary scales.

He said that to the best of his knowledge the Fire Service had never had a review of its salary apart from the rest of the civil service.

Mr. Ross said there was a tapestry of issues and a review of general orders had created an anomaly which had irritated firemen.

He was working hard to address things, he told the House.

Bodden Town MLA Osbourne Bodden said the Fire Service had been one of the country’s flagship departments.

Mr. Ross said it had been run by a highly respected civil servant and when someone like that moved on there was always a vacuum of sorts until a new person could be hired to take over.

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